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June 06, 2013


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Maja Milos - 2012
Artsploitation Films All Region DVD

I will try my best here, but if I had my choice, I'd wish that Susan Sontag was writing about Clip. Sontag's long essay, "On Photography" helped me articulate different aspects of photography both in terms of artistic expression as a form of documentation. How this fits in with Clip is that teenage Jasna is constantly filming her life with her cell phone camera, often what might be considered those parts of one's life too personal to be sharing. There is a scene in which Jasna's mother and Jasna's grandparents are looking at old photographs. Photography functions in a more conventional, traditional way, as a visual document of family members and as a means of invoking nostalgia among those who are part of that family. Jasna walks away, wondering why there would be interest in dead people.

The clip referred to in the title is one Jasna made, filming her just shaved vaginal area. The older by a couple of year boy that she pursues, chooses to jerk himself off while watching the clip, while Jasna lies still below him. Throughout the film, emotional connections are filtered through technology, whether by the constant filming of various activities, cell phone conversations, or singing along to pop records. That use of technology is an added twist to the classic elements of teen rebellion and angst: bullying, spontaneous fist fights, drugs and alcohol, trashing school, and exploring sexuality.

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Maja Milos cuts between the observational camera and the footage filmed Jasna's cell phone camera. The value placed on cell phone documentation comes to a head when Jasna visits a facility for abandoned elementary school aged children. Instantly "adopted" by Stana, Stana insists that Jasna film her. The little girl mimics the poses of models and proudly shows off her few possessions. In her own way, Stana acts as both a parody of Jasna as well as a hint of a future dominated by self-absorption and the need to appear on a cell phone camera.

Maja Milos was an assistant director for Life and Death of a Porno Gang, which was reviewed last year. If the more notorious films are any indication, there is a freedom as well as energy expressed by Serbian filmmakers. It might also be worth considering that the country as it currently stands is still young, and that the youth in Milos' film have no personal knowledge of the Yugoslavia of their parents and grandparents.

The Serbian pop and rock songs on the soundtrack emphasize this current era of frankness and open sexuality. One of the nice parts about the subtitling here is that it includes translations of the song lyrics, a practice I wish was to be found on all movies. As such, Clip also serves as an introduction for many viewers to the music known as Turbo Folk. The DVD also includes an interview with Milos discussing the making of the film, and some thoughts on her favorite filmmakers. There is also more in depth analysis in the enclosed booklet, plus an interview with star Isadora Simijonovic, fourteen years old at the time Clip began production.

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Maja Milos

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at June 6, 2013 08:02 AM